World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                       Edna Robinson 

“Pink ticket” worker

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: Mrs Edna Robinson
Location of story: Sheffield
Background to story: Civilian


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Geraldine Roberts of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of Mrs Edna Robinson.

“Pink ticket” worker
Mrs Edna Robinson

Before the war I lived in Woodthorpe and worked as a machinist at CWS on West Street. I was engaged to Cecil Raymond Robinson and our wedding was planned for early September 1939.
We were having a house built but as war came closer it became impossible to get a mortgage so we put our wedding back a bit while we found somewhere to live.

Gas masks were issued and on the day war was declared I took my gas mask with me when I went to Rustlings Road for the final fitting of my wedding dress.

Later that evening the sirens started. It was suddenly very real and very frightening.
Cecil’s mum lived on Manor Lane. When we married on 23rd September 1939 we moved in with her.
Five weeks later we heard about a house to rent on Tylney Road and due to the black out we had to explore it with torches.

We settled down happily but always lived in dread of receiving Cecil’s call up papers.
The letter finally arrived one day when we had been married ten months. I came home first and saw it on the mat. My heart sank.
So in early June 1940 Cecil joined the army. He was told that he would get leave in one to three months but in fact it was seven months before I saw him again.

I stayed in Sheffield working hard and waiting for letters, which never seemed to arrive. I still went on working at the CWS in the Bluet department; we made a wide range of garments- khaki overalls-boiler suits - Dentist coats, etc. I was a “pink ticket” worker, making garments to be sent out as samples. The work had to be of a very high standard so as to get new orders; they always carried a pink ticket.

Later I worked as a supervisor and over-looker over conveyor belts.

I spent a lot of my free time with my Mother in law. We got on very well. At that time she was running a Fish and Chip shop on Manor Lane. She was a kind person and one neighbour confided in her that she was very nervous about the prospect of being bombed. My Mother in law did her best to comfort her. A few weeks later we were sitting in the kitchen and I was darning my Lisle stockings. We heard a deafening noise; a stray bomb had dropped very near us. Our neighbour who had been so anxious, had managed to get her two little boys into the shelter but sadly she was killed by the blast. We were devastated.
There had been no warning of the bomb. We spent most nights, for the next three months in the shelter.

On 12th December 1942 the Sheffield Blitz began. We had wave after wave of bombs for nine hours.
There were many terrible casualties that night but one that seemed very sad to me was the bombing of the Marples Hotel. It was all the worse, because many of the staff who worked at C & A Modes had decided to take shelter in the cellar of the pub, as it was thought to be safer than the shelter in C & A. They were singing hymns when the pub took a direct hit, and they were killed.

The day after the Blitz, I walked from Manor Lane to my house on Tylney Road. Granville Road was like a ploughed field. As I came to the top of my road and looked down the hill I saw many of the bay windows had been blown out and were lying in the middle of the road. Miraculously my window was still intact. The road was tree lined and the tree in front of my house was white. The bark had been stripped by the blast but it had taken the impact and saved the window. Three or four weeks later a lady came from the Parks committee and assured me that a new tree would be planted as quickly as possible.

60 years later I was walking down the street and I saw a workman putting in new trees. I said, “ You’re a bit late aren’t you? We had a laugh about the story and he said he would make sure I got one this time. When I got home he had planted it outside a house 5 doors away, as he had got the numbers mixed up. I mentioned it to him the next time I saw him and he apologised and said he would see to it, which he did.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when a few days later I came home to see a man sawing it down. I asked him what had happened and he said some vandals had broken it down and he felt it would not recover so needed to come down.
At that point I finally accepted that I would never have a tree outside my house again.

After the Blitz I walked to work. Several people told me that all the buildings in the area of CWS had been destroyed. It seemed pointless to go on so I went back home to my mother in law. We were frightened that the Blitz might start up again that night so we decided to go and stay with some relatives in Chesterfield. In the end we stayed for 6 or 7 weeks. When we came back I was amazed to find out that CWS had not been hit at all. I went in to see them and they were very good about the mix up and took me back.

In the meantime my husband was busy and one day a friend came into work and said “I’ve just seen Cecil on the newsreel at the Gaumont. He was driving Mr Churchill.”